1998 Thorpe Award Winner
Antoine Winfield, a team captain as a senior, is one of the all-time great cornerbacks in Ohio State history. A two-time All-American, he was a consensus choice as a senior in 1998, Winfield’s career was peppered with firsts. He was the first Buckeye to win the coveted Thorpe Award as the nation’s outstanding defensive back; the first non-linebacker (and only the fifth player total) to record at least 200 solo tackles; the first defensive back in Ohio State history to be voted team MVP (following the 1997 season); and the first cornerback in recorded history to lead the team in tackles when he did so in 1997.
A two-time All-Big Ten Conference selection, he closed his career with 278 tackles, including 224 solo stops, 22 tackles-for-loss, 29 pass break-ups and three interceptions. He played in four bowl games, including the 1996 Citrus Bowl when he came in as a true freshman and recorded seven tackles. He played in 50 games during his career and he started 29 times.
As a senior in 1998, he was one of five finalists for the Football News’ Defensive Player of the Year Award. He was named first-team All-America by the Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp, the Football Writers and the Football News. He was named the Buckeyes’ Bill Willis Defensive Player of the Year award winner. He totalled 75 tackles, third-best on the team, including nine solo tackles in a win over Michigan to close the season.
As a junior in 1997, Antoine was voted by his teammates as the team MVP after a season in which he totalled 100 tackles, 12 pass break-ups and two interceptions. He had 82 solo tackles, the fifth-highest solo tackle total in school history, and made the Football Writers and Football News All-America teams. He led the team in tackles five times, including a magnificent 10-tackle performance against Michigan and a career-high, 13-tackle effort against Missouri.